The Central Time Zone is a time zone which covers much of central North America, including vast chunks of Mexico and Canada as well as the United States. That's the easy part though, with the exact layout and terminology relating to this vast area being a complex and at times confusing sphere of knowledge.
Central Standard Time is two hours ahead of the Pacific time zones and one hour ahead of the Mountain time zone. It is therefore, logically, one hour behind the Eastern time zone.
Code of Federal Regulations
The exact specification for the location of time zones and the dividing line between them is officially outlined in the Code of Federal Regulations at 49 CFR 71. United States and Canada The United States and Canada share a colloquial term for the time zone, terming it CT. Should they want to be more specific, inhabitants should refer to Central Standard Time (CST) when using standard time in the winter, and Central Daylight Time (CDT) when using daylight savings time in the spring, summer and autumn months of the year.
States of the union
States observing Central Time
Only ten US states observe Central Time in their entirety. These are, Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma and Wisconsin.
Mountain Time and Central Time
Several states are partly covered by Mountain Time to the west and Central Time. These are Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Texas.
Central Time and Eastern Time
Some other states are covered partly by Central Time and partly by Eastern Time. Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee make their way onto this list.
Areas of Central Time Zone
All this makes telling the time in the US a far from simple thing, though the Central Time Zone as such, covers a huge range of terrain in its area, from the plains of Kansas, to the humid sub-tropics of Alabama and the swamps of Louisiana.
Outside the US
In Canada, only the province of Manitoba observes Central Time in its entirety.
Mexico In Mexico, the zone is known as tiempo del Centro. One of Mexico's most famous holiday resorts, Acapulco in the state of Guerrero, is located within the Central Time Zone. Most Mexican states fall within the Central Time Zone, with only six north-western states falling outside. On this list are Baja California Sur, Chihuahua, Nayarit, Sinaloa, Sonora and Baja California.
Greenwich Mean Time Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) in relation to CST is six hours ahead when observing standard time and five hours when observing daylight savings time.